Are you gearing up for some off-road driving adventures?
If you’re brand new to off-roading, it may seem as simple as getting in your vehicle and hitting the trails.
But every off-road driver will have his or her fair share of off-road driving tips that you’d be wise to heed before heading out. We’ll explore seven of them here.
1. Perform Preventative Maintenance
Think of your off-road explorations as you would a cross-country journey.
Take a look under your vehicle to ensure there are no leaks or mechanical problems. Be sure all of your fluids are topped off and you have all the needed tools. And keep track of when filters, hoses, or belts were replaced or repaired.
And finally, check your tires. They should all be in good condition (including the spare) and properly inflated. Speaking of which…
2. Lower the Tire Pressure
You’ve gone the extra mile to get some high-quality grid offroad wheels. So be sure you complete the package with solid tires that are filled to the right pressure.
Whatever the tire manufacturer recommends, that’s for smooth pavement. For off-roading, you’ll want to go lower. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with a bumpy ride, poor traction, and potential damage to the tires.
The lower the pressure, the more surface of the tire touches the ground for better distribution of the vehicle’s weight. This means a smoother ride with more traction.
3. Shift Into 4WD Right Away
The moment your tires touch dirt, shift into 4WD. Why? Because if you wait until the point when the rear tires begin to spin, it could be too late. You’ll already be stuck and 4WD isn’t going to help you at that point.
4. Understand the Terrain
If possible, find out what you’re getting into before you come across a potentially dangerous section of the trail.
Elevate your gaze so you can see what’s coming ahead. And don’t hesitate to pull off the trail and get out of the cab so you can scout ahead on foot.
You can also learn a lot from watching another vehicle drive through that challenging stretch, and then put a plan into place as to how you’ll navigate it.
5. Choose the Right Gear
The key to conquering trails is to drive as slowly as possible and as fast as is necessary. So, for instance, first gear makes sense for crawling over rocks, while soft or sandy soil requires a higher gear to get the momentum you need.
6. Respect the Environment
The first rule of driving off-road is to stay on the established path so you don’t damage embankments and leave ruts.
Don’t litter. And don’t intentionally spin your tires, as it tears up the soil.
If you pile stones, put them back where you found them. And be respectful of the plants and animals that call the trails home.
7. Be Flexible to Be Safe
Even the best-laid plans can go off the rail.
Be willing to ditch your original strategy if the situation suddenly looks dangerous. In other words, adapt to the circumstances. Otherwise, it could lead to damage or injury.
Enjoy Your Off-Road Driving Adventure
Planning ahead and playing it safe won’t detract from the fun of your off-road driving adventure. So follow the above tips.
It’ll ensure that you and your passengers are ready to hit the trails again next time.
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